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AMD’s latest GPUs almost came with troubled 16

Sep 19, 2023Sep 19, 2023

We recently saw AMD unveiling two brand new desktop GPUs from its Radeon 7000 series. The new RX 7800 XT and the RX 7700 XT are based on the RDNA 3 architecture and are claimed to be optimized for the best 1440p gaming experience. Both the graphics cards also come with standard 8-pin PCIe power connectors, but a report now suggests that was not AMD’s original plan.

In an interview with Club386, Scott Herkelman, senior vice president and general manager of the Graphics Business Unit at AMD, said that the company had given thought to using the 16-pin 12VHPWR power connector on the RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT. However, it rightly chose to drop that idea after rival Nvidia experienced major issues with the connector.

While AMD did not intend to use the new power connector on the 7900 and 7600 series GPUs, they actually had plans to use it on the 7800 and 7700. “We removed it, and that was a purposeful removal. You shouldn’t blame end users for issues you have. You should catch and own any problems, just like we did with the vapor-chamber issue. I was all over social media because I felt like it was AMD’s problem and I was going to own it,” he said.

With the introduction of its RTX 40-series GPUs, Nvidia struggled to maintain quality control of the 12VHPWR connector, specifically on the most expensive and powerful RTX 4090. As a result, there were multiple reports by tech reviewers and consumers claiming their 4090 literally melted during a heavy workload session. It was concluded that a loose or faulty connection was the main culprit and Nvidia released a statement with guidelines on how to properly use the power connector. Additionally, the Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group has rolled out a revised 12V-2×6 power connector that is claimed to be safer than the original 16-pin power connector.

Herkelman added: “Until this power issue is cleaned up and there’s good confidence it’s working correctly for end users, that’s where you’ll start to see us incorporate it into our planning. The ability for someone to say it’s an end-user’s fault is a little strange to AMD and definitely strange to me.”

Clearly, AMD is not eager to follow Nvidia’s footsteps and adopt the 16-pin power connector this soon. However, that doesn’t mean that we will never see an AMD GPU with the 12VHPWR power connector. Herkelman also added that AMD will definitely consider the 16-pin power connector once the “power issue is cleaned up and there’s good confidence it’s working correctly for end users.”